Common reptile pets
Reptiles can make excellent pets, but sometimes inexperienced owners are overwhelmed when the realize how expensive and difficult some reptiles are to care for. Unfortunately, many owners go home from pet stores with incomplete and even incorrect information on proper care of their reptiles so end up surprised and unprepared when they find out what it really takes to care for their pets, in both time and cost. Unmet expectations and poor advice about care can result in a bad experience for the owner and can ultimately be fatal for the reptile.
Some reptiles are poor choices for beginners, often due to diet or environmental needs or an unwieldy adult size. However, there are some readily available reptiles that are good for beginners. These animals are relatively low maintenance, compared to other reptiles, but they still need a significant investment in proper equipment up front. As always, do thorough research before deciding on one of these pets and get your enclosure set up before bringing home your new pet.
I recommend new owners read about "Salmonella and Reptiles" to become aware of the risks and
This is considered by many to be the ideal lizard for beginners. They are relatively small and easy to care for. A 15-20 gallon tank is large enough and since they are nocturnal, they do not need specialized (UVA/UVB) lighting. They are insectivores and should be fed a variety of insects. They are also quite docile and easy to handle. Care of Leopard Geckos
The biggest obstacle for many owners is the diet needs of snakes. For most commonly kept snakes, owners must be willing to feed whole prey such as mice or rats (prekilled is preferred). However, snakes have the advantage of often only needing to be fed once a week or less so can easily be left on their own for a few days without a pet sitter. They also have no requirement for UVA/UVB lights.
A Note About Turtles
Fortunately, the idea of marketing turtles (particularly red eared sliders) as wonderful pets for kids seems to have fallen from favor. Aquatic turtles get to be quite large and messy, and turn out to be pretty boring to children. It can be very challenging to meet the housing and environmental needs of most turtles (aquatic turtles, box turtles, and tortoises). Deciding to get a turtle requires a great deal of preparation and commitment.